Indians homer four times, squash Tigers' five-game win streak
Detroit –— You don't mess with a streak, right? If you are going good and winning games, you don't change your routine, heck, maybe you don't even change your socks and underwear.
You darn sure don't take a day off. Unless, of course, it's scheduled.
"This is a good start," Miguel Cabrera said Tuesday after the Tigers had their five-game winning snapped by the Cleveland Indians, 8-2. "It's not our fault we got a day off yesterday. When you are playing good, and playing consistent like we were against Kansas City, we need to keep playing.
"That was not a good break for us yesterday. But it's no excuse. We've got to come back and try to win tomorrow and then win the series."
The Tigers played sterling defense throughout the winning streak. But they made two errors Tuesday that led to a pair of unearned runs. Their starting pitchers hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of the first 10 games.
Tuesday's starter, Jordan Zimmermann, had allowed just one run in his two previous starts. Not only that, only one of the 38 balls that were put in play against them were hard-hit, and against his slider, opponents were 2 for 24.
But, working with two extra days of rest, everything was different.
"My slider wasn't very good and my curveball was below average," Zimmermann said. "I think with seven days rest maybe I was feeling a little too good and I was leaking toward first base (on his delivery) and my fastball was running on me.
"I just didn't have the location today and my slider wasn't doing a whole lot."
The Indians came into Comerica Park with just four home runs on the ledger. They doubled that in six innings — three of them off Zimmermann, were launched against his slider.
"This was one of those days where you've got to just turn the page and come back and be ready tomorrow," Zimmermann said.
His second pitch of the game was clouted into the right field seats by former Tiger Leonys Martin. In the second inning, light-hitting second baseman Bill Miller, who hadn’t homered in his last 69 plate appearances, hit a spinning slider deeper into the right field seats — a two-run home run.
BOX SCORE: Indians 8, Tigers 2
In the fifth, another slider got knocked into the seats, this one was a wind-aided fly ball to left field by Roberto Perez.
Jake Bauers hit the Indians’ fourth homer of the day, another to right field, off Blaine Hardy in the sixth.
"Zimm didn't have his best stuff," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He got some balls up and the wind was blowing around pretty good. And we missed a couple of plays — everything we'd been talking about, throwing the ball over and catching it — didn't quite work out the way we wanted it."
A throwing error by catcher Grayson Greiner set up a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Then in the seventh inning, with rookie Reed Garrett pitching, center fielder Mikie Mahtook, hitless in 23 at-bats this season, made a three-base error on a single by shortstop Eric Stamets.
The ball went under his glove and rolled to the wall. Miller scored from second and Stamets had a little-league home run.
"It's tough," Gardenhire said when asked about Mahtook's struggles. "This is a tough game. We talked to today during batting practice about trying to cover the ball better. And he hit one hard today on the ground.
"It's tough when you go through these struggles. We have a few guys who are scuffling right now (Jeimer Candelario is on an 0-for-21 skid). All you can do is keep working through it. We know Mikie is a good outfielder. He just picked his head up off the ball and missed it."
After 10 close-fought, well-played baseball games, this was a mostly irredeemable effort by the Tigers. Though they did have opportunities early against Indians starter Corey Kluber.
"He didn't have his best stuff today, but he still won the game," said Cabrera, who was 2-for-4 with a double. "That's why he's one of the best pitchers in the game."
The Tigers were 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and they left runners at third base in the first, third and fifth innings. They missed a big chance in the first inning.
After Josh Harrison led off with a single, he went to third on an error by shortstop Eric Stamets. Cabrera had Kluber in a 3-1 hole and took a pitch that replays showed was clearly outside.
Plate umpire Ted Barrett called it a strike and Cabrera ended up striking out.
"That changed the whole inning," Cabrera said. "Against Kluber? You get a chance like that, you want to take advantage."
The Tigers on the season are 10 for 76 with runners in scoring position.
"Against this guy, though, he's making the ball dive all over the place," Gardenhire said. "He's one of those guys, when he gets in those situations, he can rise to the occasion. He did today."